Help needed migrating from FirstCLass
We're in the process of migrating from FirstClass (FC) 5 to Zimbra. Our interim solution is to have both our FC server and Zimbra server running concurrently.
As mail comes to our network it enters our spam catcher, which is configured to pass all email to our Zimbra box. We're a small college and have 200+ new students entering this fall. So on the Zimbra box we've created full user accounts for all new students and created aliases in Zimbra to pass email for current FC users on to the FC server.
The problems lies with our current FC users trying to send email to any of the new students who have full accounts on Zimbra. Short of manually creating either limited user accounts on FC to forward all new student email back to the Zimbra box or hack some sort of FC multiple public list/conference we're stuck on how to make an interim solution.
So if you've successfully migrated to Zimbra from FirstClass please let me know if your situation was at all like what I've described. And as usual, if any of this is unclear please ask and I can provide more detail.
FirstClass migration is exceedingly complicated but possible
First let me say that my experience with FirstClass migration was back in 2008. Things may be different with the version of FirstClass you are running now.
At the time we had about 2660 accounts. I migrated a little more than 2630 accounts with 100% success and the remaining 20+ accounts were satisfied with less than 100% migration. What was really amazing is that our migration process included all FirstClass email, uploaded file, documents, forms etc from user accounts. As far as I can tell we are still the only ones who have had that kind of success migrating away from FirstClass.
I'll start with our easy solutions.
We made users migrate calendars if they had them. Support staff were available for this process if needed.
We used regular Zimbra accounts for departmental use and shared these departmental accounts to appropriate users. I didn't have an automated way to capture permissions from FirstClass. I gathered required permissions from the people who knew what they needed and then used scripts or manual entry to create departmental accounts, shares and permissions on the Zimbra server.
Ok, here's the hard stuff.
Back in 2008 I researched the FirstClass support forums and the web in general for what others had done for migration and it all pointed to the same conclusion. Migrating all FirstClass content to any other system is almost impossible.
The most significant cause is that FirstClass's imap protocol implementation is not standards compliant. As you said, imap would not even include any sent email. I can't remember if it didn't include read email. During my research of other FirstClass user experiences I found some people used imapsync and told their users to simply live with the fact that so many email would not get migrated. I tried a number of ways to get things to work with imap and nothing worked. Even when things seemed to work a little it was very inconsistent which made it completely unreliable.
Most email systems (gmail, zimbra, exchange server, etc...) expect to use imap to sync folders when migrating so this posed a significant problem.
At this point we're only talking about email migration and we can already see how disappointing the results will be.
When considering how you will migrate other items like uploaded files, documents, forms, calendars, etc you will find that there is no simple way to get access to them.
Basically I concluded there was no simple/standard way to migrate from FirstClass so I came up with a complicated way. :)
I discovered that FirstClass's pop3 protocol was consistent in what it did but it still did not include sent email, uploaded files, etc. Of course, pop3 also limits you only to the user's inbox. But, at lease it was a start.
I created a temporary FirstClass account for migration purposes. Let's call that account "mig".
I used batch admin scripts to copy a folder from userA's account to the mig account.
Then used a perl script to connect to mig's account using pop3 and connect to userA's account on the zimbra server using imap and sync the email.
I inserted a unique id into each email as I copied it to the Zimbra server so the next time this folder was sync'd I could first compare the contents of the folder on FirstClass with the contents of the folder on Zimbra thereby establishing a true synchronization process.
Then I'd empty the mig account and copy userA's next folder to it and migrate it to Zimbra and so on.
The really big breakthrough came when a coworker suggested that I could modify the results of the batch admin folder copy script which described each item in the FirstClass folder that was being migrated. This meant that I could change the behind the scenes description of sent items, documents, forms, uploaded files, etc to look like regular email that would be visible via pop3.
So, I setup a separate linux server (let's call it "migserver") to handle the migration process between FirstClass and Zimbra. This server made batch admin requests to FirstClass. The results of those batch admin scripts were emailed to the migserver where they would be manipulated by the migration script and resubmitted to the FirstClass server as a new batch admin script.
FirstClass still turned out to have so many complicating issues so I just tweaked my migration script to solve each one if possible.
There's even more to the process than this but this should at least capture the idea of what I did.
The migration of some of our larger accounts (greater than 200MB) took quite a while with this process on the first pass but with subsequent passes the duration would shorten since it was a true sync.
I hope that information is helpful. Let me know if I can be of more help.